Army says 6 communist rebels killed in Tarlac clash

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Six New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed while another was wounded in a clash with government troops in Camiling, Tarlac province, on Tuesday, a report from the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) said.

One of the six fatalities was an Aeta woman who has yet to be identified. The wounded was identified as Jun Mendoza, who was taken to a hospital in the Nolcom headquarters in Tarlac City.

Major General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Nolcom commander, said the NPA unit involved in the clash is a squad called “Abe,” whose leader is known only as “Dado.” He said the squad is composed of NPA rebels operating in Tarlac and Zambales provinces and headed by one Janet Cruz, also known as “Libay.”

Colonel Henry Sabarre, commander of the Army’s 703rd Infantry Brigade commander, corrected an initial report that seven rebels were killed in the clash with the Army’s 3rd Mechanized Battalion and the police’s public safety battalion in Barangay (village) Bobon 2nd, Camiling.

He said soldiers and policemen encircled the area where the NPA rebels were seen by residents beginning 10 p.m. Tuesday. The gunfight, he said, lasted until early Wednesday.

Sabarre said government soldiers recovered high powered firearms from the clash site.

“I have been tracking down this squad. I was worried they might try to embarrass the President in his home province,” Catapang said in a text message.

NPA leaders in Central Luzon have not confirmed involvement in the clash.

“We believe that some of them are high value targets,” Sabarre said. With a report from Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon

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